Tag Archives: Christopher Woods

Rob’s Update: When the Dragons Grow Too Mighty

Week 17 of 2022

Greetings all

This was one of those weeks where I did a bunch of work, but it’s not something that turns into specific product yet. Lots of editing, some small projects, and so on.

However, that all changes this weekend with Planet Comicon. I’ll be in booth 1746 all weekend, and I look forward to chatting with so many people.

These kind of big comicons are exhausting, and I’ll be dragging on Sunday, but they’re also inspiring and give me a great creative push, at least once I can get my head back above water.

I’ve a bunch of friends there too. Todd Fahnestock, James Young, Jennifer Stolzer, and a host of others. That’s part of the fun, and it’s been way too long since I’ve seen a bunch of these.

The Door Into Winter comes out on the 10th of May, and of course, that’s also exciting. Release dates are kind of like Christmas, in that you have to wait to open the presents, or in this case, the response.

I’m going to cut it short for now, because I set up today and we also recorded another Dudes in Hyperspace podcast, and I’m beat.

What I’m Listening To

The clacking of my mechanical keyboard. I’m so tired I didn’t put on my headphones to listen to anything.

Quote of the Week

Yesterday I got to see Primus for the first time. They’ve been on my list, and this was especially the concert for me as they played all of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings. They did really well, and it’s been a while since I had a Rush quote. This one’s from Madrigal, which is not one of Rush’s more well-known songs, but I love these lyrics.

And I’m so lucky to have finally found the “you” mentioned in the last line.

When the dragons grow too mighty
To slay with pen or sword
I grow weary of the battle
And the storm I walk toward
When all around is madness
And there’s no safe port in view
I long to turn my path homeward
To stop awhile with you
– Rush, Madrigal

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:

The latest show includes stuff on the Masters, which didn’t turn out nearly as dramatic as they often do.

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Get five free stories and signed up with the Eldros Legacy mailing list! Here There Be Giants is at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

The Door Into Winter by me is coming soon!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

The theme is Bonds of Valor, and you story must include deeds of valor centered around bonds between characters. This could be a romantic relationship, a buddy adventure, oaths to kings, or whatever you can come up with.

Deadline: November 30th, 2022
Word Count: 7-10,000 words
Specifics: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced.

I’m currently working on The Door Into Winter, my next novel.


None this week so you can take a break. As one subscriber said, I’m running out of time with all this awesome free stuff! More to come next week, so better catch up quick.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (571)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

New stuff in the Fallen World! Among the Embers is a new anthology with Kevin Steverson, Marisa Wolf, Jon R. Osborne, and, of course, the universe founder, Christopher Woods, plus a bunch of other great authors. You can get it here:

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.6

Updated Word Count: 136,524

Eldros Legacy Archives: 813 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Interview: Jamie Ibson

Greetings all

In honor of the upcoming release of Keen Edge of Valor, I thought I’d provide some interviews of the authors in the anthology throughout March. Today, we start with Jamie Ibson, who actually is one of the reasons I got started with New Mythology Press.

Jamie asked Chris to do an anthology involving altered humanity. That was We Dare, and I have a fun story in there (And a fun story about that fun story). Anyway, others had asked as well, including James Young and his magnificent Phases of Mars series of alternate military history, of which I have the honor to be in all three.

But these other anthologies prompted me to ask Chris, may I do an anthology of fantasy stories? That became When Valor Must Hold, and from that I have ended up here with New Mythology.

OK, enough about that, on to the interview.

Jamie Ibson

  1. Why are you here? This includes influences, favorite creators, steps along the way, and dreams down the road.
Jamie ibson
Jamie ibson

Kevin Ikenberry and Michael Z Williamson have taught me more, directly, about the craft of storytelling than anyone I can think of.

More generally I grew up reading D&D fantasy like the Forgotten Realms books, SF off my Dad’s bookshelf like Robert Heinlein, Gordon R Dickson, Spider Robinson, and Joe Haldeman.

These days I often find little aspects of gaming I find intriguing – for example, using crystals to power magical effects in the Westlocke stories (ed. note: You can find the first two in Songs of Valor and Keen Edge of Valor) comes directly from a Fridge Horror moment playing Skyrim where I was slaying wolves left and right, charging up my soul gems, and went “wait… doesn’t this make me the Fantasy equivalent of the machines from the Matrix?”

“Creators” is a great non-specific term and some of my favorite YouTube videos are of self-made musicians like Leo Moracchioli, who is an absolute maniac in Norway pumping out a new heavy metal cover song, with video, every Friday. His music often accompanies me as I write. He plays a bajillion instruments, sings, growls, records, produces, edits video, and generally is only not a one-man show when it comes to bringing in guests or going on tour.

I’m also heavily into mashup songs, where an artist will take, say, the Ghostbusters theme song and overlay the Gangnam Style lyrics to it and it’s genius.

Book-wise, falling in with the CKP crowd has been tremendous. With all the foolishness going on in the world, having a regular Saturday night video call with friends literally all over the globe, with conversations that sometimes last 6, 7, 8 hours has been a boon to my mental health.

I became a creator in the first place at LibertyCon 30, when I learned it wasn’t nearly as impossible as I believed it to be. I chose to create because  I found my people. Science fiction and fantasy nerds are best nerds.

Fingers crossed, I would like someday, perhaps someday soon, to narrate one of my own works.

  1. Describe your great Lab of Creation? This includes where you work, what do you listen to (if anything), things you have to have in your work environment, and stuff you’ve tried that haven’t worked.

I work at home. Used to be in the attic, now it’s in a room on the 2nd floor of the house. I’ve got two scratching posts to my right, my bar fridge to my left, my RPG gamebooks over my left shoulder and my RPG figures/miniatures in a cabinet over my right shoulder.

I was originally in the attic, but the floor up there is uneven and I found the ergonomics was putting me in for massage and chiropractic more often than I’d like. The floor literally dropped 4” over 15’. (That’s bad.) The floor in here is much more even.

Gizmo Helping
Gizmo Helping (Jamie needs all the help he can get)

As I mentioned above… Leo Moracchioli, Holocene, and First to Eleven for covers. DJ Schmolli, DJ Cummerbund, William Maranci, Bill McClintock all do mashups. When I’m feeling nostalgic I might listen to Soundgarden, Perturbator, Foo Fighters (especially their live stuff, especially Monkey Wrench featuring Kiss Guy), or electroswing like Caravan Palace.

Cats exist in my working environment – Naomi the ninja, Miss Belle, Floofiest Of Her Name, and Gizmo, the new kitten.

  1. What are your superpowers? This includes things you like your creations, specific techniques you do well, and some favorite successes.

I like lots of different cultures in my writing. I currently plan to put each of the four (five?) Myrmidons books on a different planet with a different… Terran Ancestry, if you will. Urbicide was set on Montoya, in La Republica Del Escobar, which gave everything a distinctive South American Spanish tilt. Disavowed will be in & around the hive city of New Athens, in the Hellenic Cluster, so it’ll be Space Greek. Other destinations will include Space Russia, Space Japan, and probably Space Canada.

I think I do my combat scenes well. I’m 40, and since the age of 17 I’ve only had 1 year where I wasn’t wearing an infantryman’s uniform or a redcoat (ed. note: he’s Canadian, so by redcoat he means the RCMP).

I’ve been in fistfights, I’ve trained for firefights, I’m a good scrapper and good with a firearm. I try to keep my fight scenes tight and chaotic but accurate.

We Dares 1, 2, and 3
We Dares 1, 2, and 3

I’m very proud of the We Dare anthologies. Number Four is in the closing stages right now, and the feedback from them has been great, both from readers and from my contributors.

We Dare 1 was the first book with my name on the cover, and I had no idea what I was doing. Between them and last year’s And Then It Got Weird, I’ve edited more than 70 short stories, have generally had very good feedback from my contributors, and I think we’ve released a really great series of anthos featuring some really great authors.

  1. What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you? This includes challenges you’ve faced that frustrated you, learning experiences, techniques for overcoming creative challenges, things you’d have done differently, and advice for new writers.

Hah, I am my own Lex Luthor. I struggle with self-doubt, anxiety, impostor syndrome, and have trouble focusing. So I’m not as productive, word-count wise, as I’d like to be.

Gizmo Gaming
Speaking of cats…

Sometimes, some very rare times, I can focus like a laser and I can bang off 4000+ words in a night. Others I’m like a cat chasing a disco-ball’s worth of little red laser lights and I’m so scattered as to be useless.

I wouldn’t say failures, so much as sticking points where I’ve gotten jammed up. And in those cases, I have some pretty great friends I can go to with a problem and say “So… how about this?” and they’ll say “Oh, do that” and boom, they can see to the heart of the issue pretty much immediately. I have really smart friends.

I overcome slow points a number of ways. Grind through, sprint, dictate, change the subject… curse Lex Luthor and his inability to focus…


I’d tell new writers, when getting going, find something you want to create for yourself and focus on it like a laser.

To date, I’ve written one 4HU novel co-written with Jason Cordova, another with Casey Moores, one in Christopher Woods’ Fallen World, and Myrmidons Inc: Urbicide. Getting going as a noob is difficult and I likely would have enjoyed greater sales and success if I had, say, written three Myrmidons books first before branching off in some other direction.

Lightning Round
  • Actor/Actress You’d Like to Play Any Character You’ve Created: Brendan Fraser to voice Bellerophon. He’s brilliant in Doom Patrol and I love him to pieces
  • Favorite Muppet? Pepe
  • Belle

    Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Bill McClintock. (Check out his “Slipshack” mashup of Slipknot and the B-52s, it’s wild)

  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Summer, because we live in the Maritimes now and I have a 9’ pile of snow in my back yard.
  • Favorite Superhero? Wolverine
  • Best Game Ever? Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Lol, I dunno man I was born in 81 and the cartoons I grew up on were pretty great…
  • Do You Have Pets? Naomi, Miss Belle, and Gizmo.Favorite Weird Color? Michelle has a gorgeous Victorian gown made out of a… I think it’s called taffeta, where it shimmers between brown and green. The effect is amazing.
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? Michelle gave me a pen as I embarked on my writing journey that simply says “Believe” on it. (See Lex Luthor weaknesses above for why that’s relevant)
  • Favorite Sports Team? Team Canada Hockey at the winter olympics
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? Optimus Prime
  • Your Wrestler Name? The Frozen Hoser
  • Your Signature Wrestling Move? The Avalanche
  • Naomi

    What Do You Secretly Plot? [Redacted]

  • How Will You Conquer the World? [Still Redacted but nice try]
  • Best Thing From the 80s? Weird Al Yankovic, and/or Saturday Morning Cartoons
  • Favorite Historical Period? The Renaissance. People had style.
  • Person In History (Living or Dead) You Want To Hang Out With? Robert Heinlein
  • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare, I guess? I’m not really a steak guy, I prefer BBQ and burgers and pulled pork carnitas and tacos.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? Ranch
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Homemade Nuka Cola with Baron Samedi spiced rum
  • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Bruce Willis from like, 30 years ago
  • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? Rock, Paper, or Scissors? (ed. note: Me like rock!)

What question(s) would you like to ask me?

Of all the stories you’ve published, which one is your personal favorite and why?

Rob’s Answer: So. I gotta pick between my babies? Yeeesh.

My favorite might be either the first or the third of the stories I gave James Young for the Phases of Mars.

More Gizmo, because who doesn’t want more kitten pictures?

The first story is the only time the Muse hit me over the head with a Clue-by-4. I literally can tell you only that it was set in 1908 and nothing else, or it gives the story away. The key to that is the final word, which I used only once in the story, though James quite rightly initially pushed for me to use it throughout as editor.

The third was the only story I’ve written in the time period I’ve actually studied, Anglo-Saxon England. It was a retelling of the Battle of Maldon, with some reconsideration of Byhrtnoth’s “ofermod” and the strategic challenges he faced. Oh, and there’s a plausible way the English could have won.

I could say the story I sent to Jamie for We Dare, but that’s mostly because of the story about the story, which he and I still tell. Just give us a beverage…

There’s the story I gave to Kevin Steverson for his Salvage Title Universe that was totally written to be quirky and fun. Putting in 227 band name and song name references in a short story was a great challenge.

The Ravening of Wolves, frankly the whole Foresters series, proved to me I could do this job.

I’ve skipped over a bunch, and each of them has a particular reason for being precious to me.

I think, though, I have to say A Lake Most Deep. Yes, it’s my first book and it’s flawed for many of the common first book reasons. But I wrote it in a really down place in my life, and I’m not entirely sure where I’d be or even if I’d be if I hadn’t written it.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Conventions are on hold until we can cross into the USA without needing to invest in covid tests. Generally speaking, I go to LibertyCon, went to FactoryCon last October, and hope to attend FantaScis, Superstars, and maybe LTUEs going forward? We’ll see, that’s a lot of travel from the frigid north.

Do you have a creator biography?

Jamie Ibson is from the frozen wastelands of Canuckistan, where moose, bears, and geese battle for domination among the hockey rinks, igloos, and Tim Hortons. After joining the Canadian army reserves in high school, he spent half of 2001 in Bosnia as a peacekeeper and came home shortly after 9/11 with a deep sense of foreboding. After graduating college, he landed a job in law enforcement and was posted to the left coast from 2007 to 2021. He retired from law enforcement in early 2021 and moved clear across the country to write full time in the Maritimes. He is married to the lovely Michelle, and they have cats.

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not?

What are you doing now, that much-younger-you never would have guessed you’d love?

(Me, cooking/turning into a foodie)

Rob’s Answer: Oooh, great question. For me, it might actually be writing itself. I started this job at 46, having never really written anything other than academic stuff, having never really done anything creative. I didn’t think I could.

Name two of your most-favorite niche genres, whether that’s within SF or Fantasy or Other…

(Examples: Cyberpunk SF, noir mystery, First Contact SF, military fantasy)

Rob’s Answer: Noir/hard-boiled mystery is probably the genre that fits into everything I write, no matter the other genre.

* * * * *

What a fun interview. Many thanks for Jamie fighting through the helpful assistance of his cats and providing me this to share.

Rob’s Update: One Guy Going Boom!

Week 35 of 2021

Greetings all

Been a great week here. Talons & Talismans One is edited. I’d send it to get it into the machine today but I tend to try and give me a day to sit on things so I can remember what all I’ve forgotten.

The House Between Worlds will be back to Jon Osborne tomorrow. Really, it’s a great book, entirely fitting given the rest of the Milesian Accords series.

Not a ton of writing here as I’ve been pushing out editing content like mad. It’s been really productive, though, and I’m proud of what we’ve done. You’re going to love it.

Next week, on the 13th, I have another short story coming out. It’s entitled “Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene,” and it’s set in Kevin Steverson’s great Salvage Title universe.

This is one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever done. I set myself a bit of a challenge. Christopher Woods and William Joseph Roberts packed their novel Smuggler’s Run, also set in the Salvage Title universe, with as many pop culture references they could insert into the prose. They even applied to Guinness World Records as the titleholder in that category.

Guinness said they couldn’t track the category well enough to actually make it a category, but I set myself the challenge of beating their record, at least in terms of references per page.

And then I gave myself an extra difficulty factor (because of course I do). Anyway, I limited myself strictly to classic and metal rock band names and song titles. I managed to stick in over two hundred references. I’ll list exactly how many on release day and I’ll send anyone who gets all of them a free e-book I’ve written of their choice.

Now, of course, today is a pre-holiday for me. It’s the ceremonial start of the NFL season and I get to watch the Cowboys play right off the bat. Don’t worry, Sunday is still a major holiday to me and I plan on watching as many games as I can.

I had my fantasy football league draft on Monday, too. Was there any doubt I’d have a team? I mean, seriously, if anyone was going to play fantasy football it’s a lifelong NFL fan who is the publisher of a fantasy imprint.

Speaking of the NFL, Ian J. Malone, Kevin Steverson, and I had a great time talking the upcoming season with Nic Gurley on the latest Dudes in Hyperspace podcast. Nic knows his stuff and we talked about the upcoming season, some challenges facing teams, players and the league itself, and we made some long-term projections for years to come.

Here’s my prediction about the Cowboys, since they’re my team. They’re going to get beat tonight. A fully healthy Bucs team at home *should* win.

But the Cowboys are relying on a bunch of young players this year. It’s usually the case that teams like that will have some challenges early in the season but round into form late in the year.

So I think they’ll lose tonight, but win the NFC East in the end of it all and I expect them to do some damage in the playoffs.

I’m so ready for some football!

What I’m Listening To

Dog & Butterfly by Heart. I can pinpoint exactly when I first heard this song. Some kid (I don’t remember who) brought it into our 4th grade music class. I was captivated then, and I still think that’s Heart’s best album ever.

Quote of the Week

I miss John Madden as a commentator. It’s true that we have some amazing commentators now like Tony Romo, but it’s hard to remember just how revolutionary he was. His personality combined with his knowledge of the game was something we’d never seen before.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
John Madden

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Talons & Talismans Too is almost ready to go to the editor. Why do I mention that here? Well, because all of the first ten (yes, ten) novel authors in the Eldros Legacy contributed to the anthology, including a bunch of Eldros Legacy stories.

Call it a prequel of sorts.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on The House Between Worlds. The two Talons & Talismans are getting close (One is 99.9% done). Then after that I turn to Steven G. Johnson’s two novels that finish his Forge and Sword trilogy.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (1,043)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • SOTI (7,948) (Formerly MON)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Jamie Ibson gives us a whole new future merc series, Myrmidons, Inc. The first in the series is Myrmidons Inc: Urbicide. “Genie” assassins, mercs, and a lot to remind you of Shadowrun and Blade Runner. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F6QRGBZ/.

And if you’re interested in the Peacemakers from 4HU like I am, you can get the start of that part of the 4HU series for less than a dollar. It’s Peacemaker by the great Kevin Ikenberry who will be guest of honor at FenCon next weekend. Sale lasts only another day or so, so check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0752J8M3K.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 334.0

Updated Word Count: 272,426 (It jumped because I went back and looked at all the stories I’d edited and submitted in the past couple of months).

Shijuren Wiki: 789 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Weekly Update Archive

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Rob’s Update: Home is the Hunter

Week 31 of 2021

Greetings all

Home from Armistice! What a great event. I outsold *any* SCA event I’ve ever been to, including several Pennsics with 7 times the population over two weeks. Part of that is because several of my regulars were part of those that attended, but still, I was very pleased.

Assuming Pennsic continues, I now have a specific spot of my own where I’ll be located, too. It’s an ideal spot, I think. I’ll be right between Calontir Trim and Gaukler Medieval Wares, across from Windrose Armory. Shady, beautiful, good neighbors, close to the barn.

This has been a week of catching up, both with work stuff and sleep. I got back a day earlier than I anticipated, which helped, but it’s been an exhausting week. I will also freely admit that I chose sleep and to spend some extra time with my sweetie to catch up. That last is why this is late.

I spent a lot of the last two weeks running through the final batch of entries for Talons & Talismans. I’ll make the announcement on Sunday night for who all is in. The choice will be difficult.

Let me put it this way, I’m really glad I’m doing two anthologies. That means I don’t have to choose just four out of the open submissions, but I get to choose eight. Since I’m struggling over which ones to choose out of fifteen who made my final round, the quality of submissions was amazing.

I’m currently finishing a short story. That’ll be done this week. Then I’ll start a new novel I’m entitling The Door Into Winter. This will be out in April.

What I’m Listening To

Watching Little League baseball for those trying to get to the Little League World Series. I love baseball at any level, but I really enjoy watching these guys play the game. Just now a kid from the Nebraska team made a great diving catch to end a game with the tying run on second base. That kid will *never* forget that moment.

Quote of the Week

Today is Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday. What an interesting career he had, of course, I am just now starting to really delve into his specific techniques as I try to be a better writer. Today’s quote is something I’m working on.

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”
― Alfred Hitchcock

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

Finishing the list of stories in the two Talons & Talismans anthologies. On track for my hoped for goal of 15 August.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (0)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • MON (829)

Upcoming Events

  • FactoryCon, 22-24 October, Coinjock, NC
    Details in the CKP – Factory Floor on Facebook.
  • 20BooksTo50K, 8-12 November, Las Vegas, NV

New Releases

The big new release is Cherubim by David Hallquist. This is the second book in his War Angel series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BTRDYVL.

We have another buck book! This times it’s Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Chris Kennedy. This is book 2 of the Fallen World series started by Christopher Woods. You can find this book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q56TCF2.

Finally, Eye of the Storm by Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey is now available for pre-release in audio form. You can find that here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B093NXYC7C.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 337.8 (Side note: I’m really pleased I kept control of my weight throughout Pennsic.)

Updated Word Count: 182,678

Shijuren Wiki: 753 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Weekly Update Archive

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: The Bright Stuff of Dreams

Week 8 of 2021

Greetings all

Fun and productive week here. I made significant progress in The Ravening of Wolves. The first round of edits on Across the Endless Ocean are done and it’s in the system. More on that later. Progress on other plans made, with more coming today.

The Ravening of Wolves, as I mentioned, is making progress. I hope to have a full draft done in March, and that seems increasingly likely to be middle as opposed to end.

Then I’ll be starting on some new fantasy. I have two fantasy books planned for the rest of the year. One, I’m aiming for late fall release, and the other to be released in May-ish.

That’s on top of New Mythology stuff, of course.

What I’m Listening To

Sabaton’s Heroes album. There are few more inspiring bands to write to than Sabaton for me. Amazing stuff.

Quote of the Week

Today, in 1977, the Enterprise, the Space Shuttle test vehicle, flew its first test flight. That led, of course, to Columbia. The members of Rush were at STS-1, the first launch of the Columbia, and they wrote a song about that day.

It’s especially cool to think about this with the landing of Perseverance on Mars today. It really is a magic day for the bright stuff of dreams.

“Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams”
Rush, Countdown

New Mythology Works in Progress

Two new additions to the upcoming schedule!

  • 1 March: The Watchers at War (Book 3 of the Watchers of Moniah Series by Barbara V. Evers)
  • 19 March: Songs of Valor (Book 2 of the Libri Valoris anthologies with Larry Correia, David Weber, Glen Cook, Dave Butler, and Sarah Hoyt)
  • 12 April: Accepted (Book 2 of the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson.
  • 21 May: Across the Endless Ocean (Book 1 of the Endless Ocean series by G. Scott Huggins)

In addition, I just started editing my second accepted submission. This one is more mil-fantasy, which is something I plan on expanding in New Mythology Press. I know a bunch of our readers love mil-SF, including me, and I also love the mil-fantasy genre, so I’m going to make sure we get more read.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (51,260)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

We have a couple of titles this week. First, there’s the Trashman, first in the Hit World series by William Webb. What is the Hit World series? Well, it’s what I call genre gumbo. A little of this, a little of that, add action for spice, and let simmer for a while. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SVZF2HF.

Then there’s Kade, a full novel about Matthew Kade from the Fallen World series by Christopher Woods. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WK3B861. I warn you, the Fallen World is addictive.

Today’s Weight: 339.8 (first time in the 330s since around 2003)

Updated Word Count: 7,538

Shijuren Wiki: 725 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2) (Forthcoming)
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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Rob’s Update: Thursday, Thursday

Week 3 of 2021

Greetings all

First, I want to thank all of you who’ve joined the mailing list this past week. Not surprisingly, a bunch of people are interested in New Mythology Press. Can’t blame you, we’re doing some good stuff.

Anyway, you’ll see I add a few things besides simply tossing business stuff at you. This first section is what I’m working on or things in my life. Then I’ll add what I’m listening, which will sometimes flow right into the Quote of the Week. I love aphorisms, by the way, so if you’ve got some fun ones, send them my way.

After that is when I’ll get into the meaty part. There’s a section on what’s happening with New Mythology. Then a list of my works in progress. If it’s a novel and I’ve got a title, it’s listed. Then there’s the various short story scraps that I’m messing with. These don’t always change, but I like to remind myself what I’m doing.

Speaking of what I’m doing, I then have my schedule listed. Right now, it’s basically just FantaSci, LibertyCon, and DragonCon, but I have hopes to add a number of others later in the year. As we all know, we’ll see what happens.

Next comes the New Releases section. This includes not only my own new releases, nor also New Mythology’s, but I’ve been blessed to be a part of a cool and productive writing crew and I like to brag about them too.

Finally, there are a  few counters. I like to keep track of my weight, and I might as well do it here. Then there’s my updated word count. I’m still waffling on how I’ll count edited works, as that will be more and more common, but I have goals I strive for each year. Finally, there’s a list of the number of entries on Shijuren wiki page, which tends to shoot up in bunches as I’m working on a new Shijuren story.

I’m actually working on a new story in the Four Horsemen Universe right now, the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows. This one’s called The Ravening of Wolves, as the Foresters work with the Zuul to strike at those who’ve been attacking both units for years.

It’s a bit of a truncated week, as things get shifted around, but I’m excited where I’m going with a variety of projects and I think you guys are going to love the explosions and swordplay coming down the pike.

What I’m Listening To

Hemispheres, by Rush. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been picking albums by Rush and just playing them over and over. It’s reminiscent of getting a new cassette and sticking it into the player on my 1969 VW Bug. Slug bug orange, by the way.

Quote of the Week

I still remember the first time I heard these lyrics. I immediately loved the way Neil Peart twisted and wove these words around into such a neat pattern. It was about this point, I started to love poetry.

Let the truth of love be lighted
Let the love of truth shine clear
Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty
With the heart and mind united in a single, perfect sphere


New Mythology Works in Progress

As we’ve posted in a variety of places, New Mythology Press is accepted submissions. Here are the guidelines.

  • Novels of 80 to 120k words
  • In .doc or .docx file format
  • Times New Roman, 12pt
  • 1.5 spaced
  • Can be fantasy of any type, epic, urban, high, whatever. Needs to have heroes doing heroic things, just like you’ve come to expect from all the books from CKP.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve accepted one of several submissions and I’m about 30% through my editing pass. This is really exciting, and I can’t wait to share this great story and the others in this series. You’re going to love Responsibility.

There are currently three books on the schedule from New Mythology Press. They are:

  • 25 January: The Watchers in Exile (Watchers of Moniah, Book 2) by Barbara Evers (At the Advance Reader Team)
  • 1 March: The Watchers at War (Watchers of Moniah, Book 3) by Barbara Evers (Note this will complete the trilogy)
  • 19 March: Songs of Valor (Libri Valoris, Book 2)

There are a number of other projects in the works, including a couple of sequels in existing series and the first glimmerings of some other awesome projects.

Again, I’m honored with the opportunity that Chris gave me here, and I can’t wait to get you a bunch of cool stuff to read.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (35,863)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is still on This week’s spotlight is on Christopher Woods and William Joseph Roberts, who put out their own take on the Salvage Title universe with Smuggler’s Run. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08S71RJP5. They get spotlighted twice because of the change in mailing list days.

Also, Jon Osborne’s A Tangled Fate, the third in his Milesian Accords series, is now out in audiobook form. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Tangled-Fate-Milesian-Accords-Book/dp/B0833DWSSS/.

Finally, Chris Kennedy decided to give some unknown guy a little help and wrote a book with him. The other guy? Oh, just David Weber. They just released Into the Light, the second in their Out of the Dark series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BKLY24N.

Today’s Weight: 347.8

Updated Word Count: 3,602

Shijuren Wiki: 724 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2) (Forthcoming)
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Death-Pale Were They All

Week 44 of 2020

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love watching people get creative with costume ideas and decorations. There are so many times where I’m just in awe of their awesome ideas. Of course, there are many times I’m just in awe of their awful ideas. Ah, well, trick or treat, of a sort.

I’ve spent the bulk of this week removing crutch words out of None Call Me Mother, which is coming out on 24 November. My  crutch words are usually things like shrug, chuckle, laugh, and that sort of thing. I also do too many things with peoples eyes.

Much of the time, the best solution is to get rid of them. They’re often stage direction that’s really not needed. From a first full draft of 148k, I think I’ll end up at 125k of stronger faster prose.

I’ve also been hammering at rebuilding the wiki. By the 24th, it has to include all the characters and what not from the Kreisens trilogy. This isn’t just to have reference for readers if they need it, but more importantly it gives me a chance to double-check things. I’ve found a number of mistakes/inconsistencies that I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t double-checked with the wiki. In a world of already something like 700k published words (as of 24 November), there will be issues, but a detailed bible is so useful to help prevent them.

Anyway, I’m also almost done with my short story for the next Libri Valoris. I’m setting up a character to have to make a choice. This is my norm, of course, however, the consequences for this character are just a tad different, but then, so is she.

I hope everyone gets a chance to wear something silly, eat candy, and admire the pole dancing skeleton display on the internet.

What I’m Listening To

Langt Nord I Trollebotten is a song by a band called Lumsk you’ve never heard of. They’re a Norwegian folk metal band and this is one of my all time favorite songs. It seems like every folk metal band has at least one truly amazing instrumental song. Pellonpekko for Korpiklaani for example, or Wolf Ritual by  Tengger Cavalry. This is Lumsk’s and it’s amazing. I can’t listen to any of these three songs just once. I always hit rewind for a few more listens before moving on.

Quote of the Week

Since it’s Halloween, here’s a creepy quote from Keats. It’s the last 3 stanzas of La Belle Dame sans Merci, which you can read in its entirety here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44475/la-belle-dame-sans-merci-a-ballad. I actually learned this poem because Robert B. Parker named a Spenser book, Pale Kings and Princes. Just another reason I loved reading his stuff.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
       Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
       Thee hath in thrall!’
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
       With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
       On the cold hill’s side.
And this is why I sojourn here,
       Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
       And no birds sing.

– John Keats, La Belle Dame sans Merci

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (32,068)
  • KAT (4,982)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Too many wiki additions to list.

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is Jamie Ibson, who just released another novel in Christopher Woods’ Fallen World setting. Ibson’s is called Pacific Shogun. You might recognize Jamie as the editor of the We Dare books, but this is him on his own. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M418TXV.

Also out this week is Chris Kennedy’s Indie Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores. It’s the second of his Author Fundamentals books and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LR3G1FD.

Today’s Weight: 356.4

Updated Word Count: 240,925

Shijuren Wiki: 230 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Friends and Family

Week 35 of 2020

Greetings all

A week of things projects as much as writing. Only 3 real writing days, but still productive. Still getting over 2k per day done on The Ravening of Sorrows.

We finished a major project here that’s been something we’ve been stepping around for months, but it’s now to the finish work stage. We’re really pleased to have that done.

We spent a lot of the week dealing with stuff. Neither of us have gotten great sleep for a while because one of us has had to sleep with the cat that was wearing a cone of shame. The cone of shame is off as of today and everything seems back to normal.

I’ll be editing a short story next week and adding to The Ravening of Sorrows a bit. Then I’ll be switching to editing None Call Me Mother. Getting close on that.

And with that, I’m going to go watch a movie with the sweetie.

What I’m Listening To

Good friends on a Zoom meeting call. It’s good to see friends, even if only virtually.

Quote of the Week

Today is Mary Shelley’s birthday and here’s a quote from one of the founders of science fiction and fantasy. This is a perfect quote for writing SF/F.

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.”
– Mary Shelley.

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (29,837)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Didn’t have a chance to work on anything else this week.

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have a new release in the Fallen World, The Island of Dr. Laroue by Christopher Woods and Chris Kennedy. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GQ6R9VR/.

Also, we have a couple of entries on Bookbub this week. A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey is today. Tomorrow will be Jon Osborne’s A Reluctant Druid. Both are 0.99 cents. The Bookbub links are awful, so click on the titles to go to those specials.

Today’s Weight: 364.4

Updated Word Count: 234,350

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Purposeful Motion

Week 7 of 2020

Greetings all

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve had to fight through getting words on the page. I’ve averaged just at 1000 words, but it’s been slow going despite staying at the keyboard.

I did make good progress on my next 4HU short story, and I’m approaching the main battle scene. I’ll have that done next week, though I’ll probably have editing yet still to do.

I also made progress in None Call Me Mother, though this was a bunch of re-arrangement. I have a thread I need to include in the final battle and getting the character there has been challenging. I *think* I have it now, but we’ll see. My word total went down, but as I’m at 108k, that’s fine.

The sweetie requested some small short stories for a project she’s working on. I got a draft of the first one of those written today. That one, at least, came out smoothly and easily.

I also wrote a draft of the Preface for When Valor Must Hold. In other words, it was not a week of legend, but I made progress.

Hopefully, the words will jump off the page next week. If not, I’ll keep plugging away.Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

Cinderella Man by Rush off of Different Stages. A Farewell to Kings is a fantastic album and one I listen to frequently.

Quote of the Week

If there’s ever a quote an author should here, especially in a week where the words don’t come out easily, this is it.

“Cinderella Man
Hang on to your plans
Try as they might
They cannot steal your dreams”
– Rush, Cinderella Man

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (108,716)
  • CB (8,418)
  • FSS (5,668)
  • RQS (1,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on Christopher Woods, whose story “Darkness Before the Dawn” inspired the cover of When Valor Must Hold. You can find that interview here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=2007.

Today’s Weight: 396.4

Updated Word Count: 30,443

Shijuren Wiki: Updating

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Interview: Benjamin Tyler Smith

For the first quarter of 2020, my Wednesday interviews will be with authors who are part of When Valor Must Hold, the upcoming anthology of fantasy stories published by Chris Kennedy Publishing.

Today’s answers come from Benjamin Tyler Smith. He’s an up-and-coming author who you guys are going to really like, if you don’t already.

His story in When Valor Must Hold is “Hanging by a Thread.” This story, set in his Necrolopolis universe, combines the weary cop trying to keep the criminals of his city to a dull roar with practical necromancy.

I will say his interview answers have much more life than many characters in his stories. Of course, they’re undead, so…

Interview: Benjamin Tyler Smith

Benjamin Tyler Smith
Benjamin Tyler Smith

Why are you here?

  • What are your influences?

Fantasy books by some of the greats (Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, to name a few), anime in a ton of genres (Mecha, Fantasy, Cyberpunk, Magical Girl), and role playing games of various sorts (Most notably Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV and VI, Baldur’s Gate, and Betrayal at Krondor).

  • Who are some favorite other creators?

Feist, Eddings, and Jordan as mentioned above. Also Kate Elliott for her Crown of Stars series, Elizabeth Haydon for her Symphony of Ages series, and Dan Abnett for his Gaunt’s Ghost series. Over in Japan, I love Reki Kawahara (Sword Art Online), Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina), Nagaru Tanigawa (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), and Kenichi Sonoda (Gunsmith Cats), to name a few.

More recently, my favorite creators include Kacey Ezell (“Minds of Men” is awesome, as are any of her stories of the Depik race in the Four Horsemen Universe), Christopher Woods for his Fallen World novels (Now I know I’m biased, but I burned through his first book in record time, then listened to it again), Mark Wandrey for his Four Horsemen stories, especially the ones about Jim Cartwright.

  • What made you a creator in the first place?

God, when He created me. I’ve always told stories, made things up, and eventually started putting those imaginings down on paper, first as King Arthur fanfiction, then as Star Wars fanfiction, and finally as my own stuff as the years have gone by. Even if I made no money writing, I would still do it. It wouldn’t be my career so I wouldn’t be able to do it as much, but I’d still do it in some form or another. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • Why did you choose to create what you create?

Things just come to me. Often when I’m listening to music or watching anime. I can’t listen to anything without getting some kind of scene or character or plot idea, and when I’m watching a good movie or show, certain moments just inspire me, either to write something similar or to take a particular emotion I feel and try to recreate it.

  • Feel free to add things you would someday like to create.

I’ve got way too many ideas, likely more than God’s given me years on this Earth. That said, I do have some plans. For this year, my focus is on building out the Fallen World universe with at least one sequel to Blue Crucible, as well as a short story or two. I also have a Jackie Warren book planned out for the Four Horsemen Universe. That’ll be a sequel on the “Return to Sender” story in the Tales from the Lyons Den anthology from late 2018. I also want to write the first book set in the Necrolopolis universe, which will feature a lot of the characters from the short story “Hanging by a Thread” that’ll be in the upcoming sword-and-sorcery anthology When Valor Must Hold. And then there are other things like a Magical Girl meets Apocalypse Now story, a zombie high school story, and other weird things like that. Like I said, too many ideas!

Describe your great Lab of Creation?

  • Where do you work? Home? Coffee Shop?

It depends on the day. Once a month I head over to a local restaurant or the nearest Chick-Fil-A with just a notebook and maybe a book on the writing craft, and I get to it. Drafting, brainstorming, studying. Mostly, though, I’m in the basement at home, with my writing laptop and snacks to keep me from venturing upstairs too often. That way lies distractions, cats needing affection, and games that desire to be played. (It’s totally them, not me, right?)

  • Do you listen to music? If so, give some examples.

I mostly listen to video game and anime music. When I’m hip-deep in the writing, it’s all instrumentals. When I’m brainstorming, outlining, or editing, vocals can be mixed in. Otherwise, the lyrics can end up distracting me when I’m actually drafting.

  • What other things exist in your productive environment?

In the basement, I have a little table where I’ve got my writing laptop, a few craft books for reference, some snacks, and a pair of cross-shaped cufflinks given to me by Larry Dixon back during World Fantasy Con of 2016 over in Columbus, Ohio.

  • What things have you tried that haven’t worked?

Two things. The first is spending too much time in the outlining and brainstorming phase. It’s not so bad with short fiction, as there are only so many factors to take into account for a 5,000 – 10,000 word piece. But, during the writing of Blue Crucible (My first contribution to Christopher Woods’ Fallen World universe) I went from the initial idea sometime in June of last year to finally sitting down to draft it in October and November. Granted, I had a couple other short stories that needed to be finished, but a lot of time was wasted spinning my wheels. So, going forward, I’m going to strive to not spend as much time in that phase of the writing.

And the second is an area I will make work, because I have to. That’s running the blog and maintaining a social media presence. It’s something I’ve tried to start a few times, and it’s always run aground as I’ve focused more and more on writing. That part’s a good thing, but I still need to be out there. Not only to promote, but also to maintain connections to fellow writers and to readers.

What are your superpowers?

  • What kinds of things do you like in your creations?

I like my characters. The plots can sometimes be hard for me to come up with, but I usually don’t have a problem with the core group of characters. Whether it’s Jackie Warren the arms dealer and her team of body guards in the Four Horesemen Universe, or it’s Lieutenant Nathan Ward and his squad of fellow mounted cops in the Fallen World Universe, or it’s Necromancer Adelvell and his band of undead misfits in my Necrolopolis universe, there’s someone for every reader to relate to, to root for, to laugh with, and to cry with.

  • What are specific techniques you do well?

I’ve been told that I do believable dialogue, with the characters having unique voices that don’t require too many tags to keep up with. I’ve also been told that my action sequences read like a movie or anime scene. Easy to visualize, easy to follow. I’m a harsh critic of my own writing, so I don’t know that I agree with that! But, I’ve heard it enough to give it credence.

  • What are some favorite successes you’ve achieved, especially things you had to struggle to overcome?

Completing this first novel all the way to the point of submission. I’ve drafted two other novels, both years ago. I never went back and edited them because they would need to be completely rewritten. I just didn’t know enough. With Blue Crucible, I feel like I’ve finally come around to understanding story structure enough to pull off a full-length work. Is it going to be perfect? No, and nothing I write ever will be. Nothing anyone writes ever will be, save for the Bible (And the writers had a little bit of help from on high for that). But, it was written to the best of my ability at the time, and I know the next book will be even better.

Another success, again involving Blue Crucible, has been to finally start writing with a lot more emotion. The protagonist, Lieutenant Nathan Ward, goes through hell during this book. It begins right on the day the bombs drop in Chris Woods’ Fallen World universe, and he witnesses as his hometown disappears off the map, along with a good bit of the country. He’s distraught, he’s upset, he’s barely holding it together. There are times where he breaks down and weeps. That’s hard for me to write, because it’s not comfortable for me to experience or see. But, with the encouragement of a couple good writer friends I pushed through and showed a lot more raw emotion than I ever have. And I think that’s where my writing’s been the weakest all these years, so I’m excited to see how readers view some of those emotional scenes.

 What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you?

  • What are some of the challenges you have faced that frustrated you?

My own resistance to writing is a personal challenge, and I know I’m not unique in that. Writing, as much fun as it is, is still a brain-burning task. It’s not difficult in the sense that we’re solving complex math equations (Well, maybe the hard sci-fi writers are) or performing life saving surgery or commanding thousands of employees or soldiers, but we’re still utilizing a lot more of the brain than we do in a lot of everyday tasks, even everyday work tasks. And the brain doesn’t always want to do that, so when it comes time to sit down and do the gritty work of writing, distractions abound! Suddenly the most amazing thing in the world is cleaning the toilets or washing the car or cooking dinner, and the writing doesn’t get done.

The other low point came when I went to my first writer’s conference and found out just how deeply political the traditional publishing industry has become (Or always has been, and maybe I just never noticed). I left there having made a few acquaintances and having met a lot of wonderful people, but overall I was very discouraged. It seemed like the industry was stacked against certain demographics and certain political and religious persuasions, and it didn’t matter how good a story you could write if you fell into those categories. My dreams of traditional publishing weren’t dashed exactly, but they were tarnished quite a bit.

And then I went to LibertyCon in 2017, and my whole perspective changed. Baen, Chris Kennedy Publishing, Copperdog Publishing, and other big to small presses out there just wanted a good story. We could have our differing views as writers and professionals and still be colleagues and even friends. What mattered was the skill and the professionalism.

  • Do you have any creative failures which taught you something? What were those lessons?

Lots of rejections, which I know is normal. I’ve had so many short stories get rejected from contests, from magazines, from token publications that I could reroof the house with the manuscripts and the rejection slips.

That said, the only thing that helped me more than the first time I received an editor’s feedback on an accepted piece (Venessa Giunta, if you’re reading this, thank you so much!) was the first time I received a personal rejection message. When an editor or assistant editor takes time out of their busy schedule to tell you why your manuscript didn’t make the final cut, you know you’re on the right track. Because they don’t do that unless they see something in your writing, something they want to see more of. The rejection still stings, but take heart! You’re in the top 5% to 10% at that point.

  • How do you overcome normal slow points like writer’s block?

In the past, before I wanted to make this a career I would try waiting for the muse to strike. That never seemed to work, but it made for a good excuse to get distracted with other things. Good things like work and car repairs and chores, and bad things like marathon sessions of video games and other entertainment.

Now I just do the clichéd thing that always works: sit down in a room with limited distractions, and it’s either write or stare at the wall. Staring at the wall gets old after about five minutes, so I inevitably put my fingers to the keyboard and type. After about an hour, I’m typing nonstop, and before I know it, six hours have gone by and it’s time for dinner.

  • Which mistake would you try to keep other creators from making?

Don’t wait. I spent years wanting to write, and dabbling in it, but I wasn’t really, truly serious about it until 2013 or so, when I started studying the craft. I’ve been writing regularly since about 2008 (with starts and stops before that, through high school and college), but I didn’t look to improve my abilities and technique until several years into it. So, yeah, wherever you’re at, realize you can do better and strive to be better. Don’t let other people talk you out of it, and don’t talk yourself out of it. If it’s something you want to do – if it’s something you’re driven to do – then just sit down and do it. And know that there are people out there eager to read what you produce, and even more eager to see you improve with each work.

  • If you could go back and tell yourself anything about writing, what would it be?

The above statement, in all its form. I should’ve focused on writing as a career from the beginning. I always pushed it aside as a “Well, maybe by the time I’m 25. Maybe by the time I’m 30. Maybe by the time…” Nope, little Ben, sit down and get to it. This is what God’s put you on this Earth to do, and you need to do it before He smites you for your indolence.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet?Do Rigel and Pilot from Farscape count as muppets?
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Does Hatsune Miku count? She’s a little on the artificial side, but what singer isn’t these days?
  • Favorite Superhero? All Might from the anime My Hero Academia, followed by Deku, the protagonist from that series. Greatest superhero saga I’ve ever seen, hands down. Highly recommended.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Dukes of Hazzard for the 70’s. Magnum P.I. and the A-Team for the 80’s.
  • Favorite Weird Color? Stanky Bean, closely followed by Dorkwood and Bank Butt.https://www.geek.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Screenshot-51817-1211-PM-625×908.jpeg
  • Favorite Sports Team? Haven’t watched much sports since high school, so I’ll have to say, “Whichever team my friends aren’t rooting for in the Superbowl.” It’s fun being the contrarian.
  • Best Game Ever? Whichever Superbowl it was that the Patriots came from behind and completely dominated. It was like a switch was thrown at half-time, and then they just owned the field. Or maybe they owned it the whole time and decided it was time to show that.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall.
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? Salvation of the soul is the greatest gift God has given me. After that, it’s the love of my wife. And after that, the cover art for Blue Crucible. I never thought my first book would have such epic artwork. Chris Kennedy has my gratitude.
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? If we’re talking western animation, then J.T. Marsh from ExoSquad. If we’re talking eastern animation, then Naofumi Iwatani from Rising of the Shield Hero.
  • Your Wrestler Name? Sweet Tea Man
  • Your Signature Wrestling Move? Something akin to the Atomic Elbow Drop, like the “Deep Steep” or the “Dentist’s Drill.”
  • What Do You Secretly Plot? To unseat the publishing giants and restore the writing world to one that’s based on merit and entertainment value.
  • How Will You Conquer the World? By southernizing everyone with sweet tea, biscuits and gravy, and gumbo.
  • Best Thing From the 80s? The NES, followed by Rototech and Bubblegum Crisis.
  • Favorite Historical Period? Toss-up between Medieval Europe and Revolutionary America
  • Most Interesting Person In History? Joan of Arc. Illiterate peasant girl who rallied a failing army, liberated a city, and died a martyr’s death without ever once relinquishing her faith. I’m looking forward to meeting her on the other side.
  • Steak Temperature? Medium and above.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? The hot bacon cheese spread we make for Christmas Eve every year.  https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/hot-bacon-cheese-spread/
  • Favorite Cereal? Honey Bunches of Oats, all the way. After that, Waffle Crisp.
  • What Do You Eat For Your Last Meal? Whatever it is, I’m washing it down with sweet iced tea.
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Sweet iced tea.
  • Do You Have Pets? I serve in the Court of the Calico Countess alongside her castellan, Earl Grey.
  • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Vin Diesel, ‘cuz why not?
  • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? Least desired and most desired cause of death.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

  • Website/Blog: BenjaminTylerSmith.com
  • Twitter: @BenTylerSmith
  • Facebook: Benjamin Tyler Smith
  • Blue Crucible will be out in early April! Look for it on Chris Kennedy Publishing’s site!
  • I’m working on the sequel to Blue Crucible and the first Jackie Warren novel in the Four Horsemen Universe. So, expect lots of post-apocalyptic sci-fi and military sci-fi action for 2020!

And where can we find you?

I will be at FantaSci and LibertyCon this year. Hope we can meet up there!

Do you have a creator biography?

By day Ben earns his bread as a necro-cartographer, and by night he writes about undead, aliens, and everything in-between. His first novel is Blue Crucible, published by Chris Kennedy Publishing and set in Christopher Woods’ post-apocalyptic Fallen World universe. Other works include short stories set in CKP’s Four Horsemen military sci-fi universe, the Sha’Daa dark fantasy/horror universe by Copperdog Publishing, and pieces that wound up as finalists for Baen contests both in 2018 and 2019. He is working on the sequel to Blue Crucible, as well as a Four Horsemen novel, both of which will be finished by the end of 2020.

Married to a saint of a woman, ruled by a benevolent calico countess, he can be found at BenjaminTylerSmith.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter (@BenTylerSmith).

Thanks to Benjamin for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Also, thanks to you for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326. If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Finally, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

Have a great day.

Rob Howell